Our quarterly IT Town Hall was this week. It’s a chance to bring all staff together, welcome new employees, and recognize promotions and special individual accomplishments. Each IT leader highlighted 3 successes in their areas this quarter and their 2016 priority projects. I commented on the changes we’ve made: re-establishment of IT governance, process improvements to ensure a more stable production environment, and our new visual management board.
We squeezed all of that into the first half hour so we could get to our guest speaker, Dr. Francois Adan, Medical Director of UH Connor Integrative Health Network. She gave us something we could all use: techniques to manage stress.
In 50 minutes, through very compelling stories, we learned what seemed like relatively simple techniques. It’s all about breathing, mindfulness, positivity, and gratitude. Basic practices we can apply every day. With Dr. Adan’s engaging speaking and teaching style, it was a delight to learn from her.
So what did we learn?
- Breathing – Take a moment each day to breath IN to the count of four, breathe OUT to the count of six as controlled breathing can relax your mind.
- Anchoring Affirmation – Bring an image to peace in your mind.
- Mindfulness – Be in the NOW, not in the past (the regrets) or the future (the worries).
- Positivity – Remind yourself of one good thing that happened within the past 24 hours.
- Gratitude – Be appreciative, give thanks. Start or end each day with acknowledging what you are grateful for.
And of course there was a chance to practice as soon as the meeting ended.
Dr. Adan had given me a stack of wallet cards with the techniques on them – great reminder to carry with you. When the Town Hall was over, I took them back to my office for distribution to staff the next day. But I wanted to be sure each of my leaders got one.
When I stopped in each of their offices, we had that chance to practice our collective stress management. The VP for infrastructure was the first stop. He jokingly told me he was already practicing the breathing technique! He told me about a significant issue in the production environment that had just arisen. A number of people had gotten pages and had left the Town Hall just before it ended. He and several of the other VPs had just joined a 411 bridge line. That call, I later learned, would take many on the IT team well into the evening before final closure. And so it goes.
Working in IT can be stressful. Whether it’s a production issue impacting thousands of users or a major project with milestones that seem impossible to meet – we all have to manage our stress.
With Dr. Adan’s help, we’re all a little better equipped than we were last week.